Former NPR Correspondent 
Named Executive Director of CPJ
New York, N.Y., May 4, 1998 -- Journalist Ann K. Cooper, who has worked as a reporter in the former Soviet Union, China, southern Africa and Washington, will join the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) July 1 as executive director, Gene Roberts, CPJ chairman, announced today.  Cooper, whose voice is well known to radio listeners in the United States, was a reporter for National Public Radio for nine years, most recently as United Nations correspondent. Her previous experience includes reporting stints at The Louisville Courier-Journal, the Capitol Hill News Service, Congressional Quarterly, The Baltimore Sun, and National Journal magazine. 

William A. Orme, Jr., CPJ’s executive director since 1993, is leaving the New York-based press freedom organization to become a reporter for The New York Times in the Jerusalem bureau.  Orme covered Latin America for 15 years as a reporter, editor and author before coming to CPJ. 

“CPJ is fortunate to have found in Ann Cooper, a seasoned correspondent with wide international experience, a worthy successor to Bill Orme, who has brought CPJ to new heights of performance and effectiveness during his five years at the helm,” said Roberts.

Founded in 1981 to defend the right of journalists to report the news openly and independently, CPJ is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, independent organization that works to safeguard press freedom around the world. Its annual survey of global press freedom conditions, Attacks on the Press, based on the research of its professional staff, is recognized as the most authoritative and comprehensive resource of its kind, documenting in compelling detail hundreds of cases of censorship, harassment, and physical attacks carried out to silence journalists and news organizations.

Cooper said in commenting on her appointment: “In my years abroad as a foreign correspondent, I developed considerable respect for my foreign colleagues, who labor without the benefit of journalism schools or First Amendments, many of them practicing a skillful and courageous brand of journalism. Many risk their lives or their livelihoods.  If the Committee to Protect Journalists can help gain them the freedom to do their work, then I think we are doing something very fine.”

Appointed NPR’s first Moscow bureau chief in 1987, over the next five years she covered superpower summits, Mikhail Gorbachev’s economic and political policies, the rise of nationalist movements, the emergence of Boris Yeltsin, and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union. Among her major stories were the Armenian earthquake of 1988, the first electoral experiment of 1989, the Soviet military crackdown in Lithuania in 1991, and the failed coup attempt in Moscow later that year. She co-edited a book of first-person accounts of that siege Russia at the Barricades. NPR also sent her to Beijing to cover the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement.

She was based in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 1992 to 1995, covering the end of apartheid, the first all-race elections in South Africa, and the country’s first year of majority political rule, coverage that won NPR a prestigious Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award in broadcast journalism. She traveled throughout southern Africa, writing features and analysis on a range of subjects. She also covered the famine and international intervention in Somalia, and the 1994 Rwandan refugee crisis and the cholera epidemic in Zaire.

Returning to the United States in 1995, she studied refugee policy issues as a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and also traveled in Kenya, Rwanda, Zaire, Bosnia and Haiti to produce a series on refugee policy for NPR. This spring she is an adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she teaches a radio workshop and international reporting. Cooper is a journalism graduate of Iowa State University.

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Ann K. Cooper
CPJ's New Exectutive Director